by Craig Dolch, Special to AmateurGolf.com
JUNO BEACH,Fla. –
Evan Beck (Credit: Craig Dolch)
A lead at Seminole Golf Club is usually as slippery as the greens.
Even the best golfers try to hold on for dear life, especially when that four-letter word - wind - appeared in Friday’s second round of the George L. Coleman Invitational.
Mark Costanza and Mike Finster both saw their leads blown away in Friday’s demanding conditions where gusts were more than 20 mph.
Taking their spots atop the leaderboards were the familiar Mid-Am duo of Stewart Hagestad and Evan Beck, who finished 1-2 in last year’s Coleman, and R.J. Nakashian in the Senior division.
Hagestad and Beck were tied at 2-under when play was stopped because of a storm when they were on the 16th green.
Jeronimo Esteve was alone in third at 1-under with three holes left. Costanza was fourth at even par.
Seminole officials were bracing for afternoon-long rains that held off before play was stopped at 5:39 p.m. The nine players left on the course will resume the second round Saturday at 7:15 a.m.
Because of the threat of more storms Saturday, a 36-hole cut will be made and players will go off both tees Saturday morning.
“We knew it was coming, so it’s not like it came out of nowhere,” Hagestad said. “It’s obviously a bummer we didn’t get it in. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow because the leaderboard is fairly packed.”
Beck recovered from an early double bogey with three birdies before making a bogey at the par-5 15th just before play was stopped.
“We got a lot more golf in than we thought we would,” Beck said. “Nothing changes. This course is hard no matter when you play it. It’s nice to have another chance to win.”
Costanza started the day with a three-shot lead in the Mid-Amateur after opening with a 67, only to see that disappear when he bogeyed the par-5 third and double-bogeyed the par-3 fifth. Costanza was 5-over through 15 holes.
Finster led the Seniors by one after a 70 before struggling Friday. He played the two par-3s on Seminole’s back nine in 5-over, finishing with an 80 to drop to 10th place.
Nakashian birdied the difficult 18th hole to take a one-shot lead over Roger Newsom. Nakashian shot 73 to move to even-par 144, thanks to the final-hole heroics.
“I whiffed a drive to the right, hit a 5-iron to about 10 feet and made a big curling putt,” Nakashian said. “It was nice.”
It was also déjà vu. In 2010, Nakashian had a one-shot lead in the Mid-Amateur division heading to No. 18 and hit a 5-iron. He made bogey, however, and lost in a playoff to Kris Mikkelsen.
Nakashian turned 55 recently, which allows him to play from the shorter tees.
“This is my favorite tournament,” said Nakashian, who caddies at Trump National in Jupiter. “I’ve played in it a long time and I’ve always wanted to win it.”
Newsom shot 74 while continuing his mastery of the par-4 12th hole. He birdied the hole after hitting from a fairway bunker to 5 feet, a day after making eagle from another fairway bunker.
“I like that hole,” Newsom said, smiling. “I have to make a lot of pars (Saturday), keep the bogeys to a minimum and try to make a few birdies.”
Mike McCoy, who will captain the U.S. team in this year’s Walker Cup, is just two back after a 74.
The 60-year-old McCoy was 3-over par after five holes Friday, but played 1-under the rest of the way to challenge for his first Senior title. He’s won the Mid-Am title in the Coleman three times.
“I’m definitely comfortable around here,” McCoy said.
It’s easier to be comfortable at Seminole when you’re not leading.
• • • • •
Craig Dolch is a 40-year journalist who has covered golf, been to 50 majors as well as a series of Ryder Cups, caddied at the Honda Classic and for seven years hosted golf radio show on ESPN West Palm. He was a longtime golf writer for the Palm Beach Post and his work as appeared in Sports Illustrated, New York Times, Golf World, Golf Digest and USA TODAY.
ABOUT THE Coleman Invitational
One of the very best amateur events all year
long played on the last great private course
designed by Donald Ross. The course, not long
today's standards, lies hard by the Atlantic
Ocean. Oceanic winds and very fast greens
this course teeth. Ben Hogan once said 'If you
can play Seminole, you can play any course in
The tournament is a 54-hole stroke play invitational
that draws an elite field of mid-
amateurs and seniors.
View Complete Tournament Information